Recipients of the Early Career Teaching Award and Teaching Fellowship (PDAD&C #70)

From: Cheryl Regehr, Vice-President & Provost
Susan McCahan, Vice-Provost, Innovations in Undergraduate Education
Date: March 9, 2018
Re: Recipients of the Early Career Teaching Award and Teaching Fellowship (PDAD&C #70)

We are delighted to announce the recipients of the 2017-18 University of Toronto Early Career Teaching Award and the 2018 University of Toronto Teaching Fellowship. In addition to congratulating this year’s recipients, we would like to thank the nominators for their work in preparing submissions. We would also like to thank the members of the selection committee for their dedication to recognizing excellence in teaching at the University of Toronto.

University of Toronto Early Career Teaching Award

This award recognizes faculty members who demonstrate an exceptional commitment to student learning, pedagogical engagement, and teaching innovation. Up to four awards of $3,000 are offered annually.

2017-18 Recipients

Jayne Baker, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Department of Sociology, University of Toronto Mississauga
Sohee Kang, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Department of Computer and Mathematical Sciences, University of Toronto Scarborough
Jamie Kellar, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy
David Liu, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Arts & Science

Jayne Baker
Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream
Department of Sociology, University of Toronto Mississauga

Professor Baker has been an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto Mississauga since 2012. Her research centres on hierarchies among university institutions (Sociology of Education) to increasing student learning in core concepts and competencies including research and writing (Scholarship of Teaching and Learning). With a colleague, she is also investigating effective strategies for preparing first year students for testing in the context of a large course that lacks face-to-face opportunities structured into the course. Professor Baker teaches courses at all levels and sizes, from 12 to 1,000. In addition to teaching required courses in research methods and introductory sociology, she also teaches courses in education and a course on masculinities. She has also spearheaded the integration of writing instruction and support in the research methods course required for all Sociology and Criminology, and Law and Society majors and specialists. As part of her interest in supporting student learning and engaging students outside of the traditional classroom, Professor Baker frequently works with undergraduates and graduate students within her own research. She has also mentored graduate students in their teaching through a Teaching Fellowship model developed by her Criminology, Law & Society teaching-stream colleague, Professor Nathan Innocente. Professor Baker has also worked actively on the curriculum of the Department of Sociology’s five programs, including design and implementation of curriculum mapping.

Sohee Kang
Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream
Department of Computer and Mathematical Sciences, University of Toronto Scarborough

Professor Sohee Kang received her Ph.D. in Biostatistics from the University of Toronto, and joined the Department of Computer and Mathematical Sciences and the Centre for Teaching and Learning in 2013. She is also a Statistics Coordinator in the Mathematics and Statistics Learning Centre and is dedicated to not only providing statistical consultations for faculty and graduate students, but to also increasing interest in, and passion for, statistical knowledge and pedagogy in general. Professor Kang is active in both developing and testing new pedagogical technologies to facilitate students’ learning and to maximize teaching effectiveness. She is currently on the development team creating a mathematics communication and collaboration environment for the classroom, a Web-based application called MC2 (Mathematics Classroom Collaborator). Professor Kang implemented gamification features on the online homework system, WeBWorK. She adopted and further developed an innovative assessment technique, Immediate Feedback Collaborative Assessment Tool (IFCAT) in weekly tutorials that works on any Internet connected device and is integrated with a leaderboard to encourage student engagement. These innovations have also been featured in her research publications and have received internal and external funding. Beyond the University, she has also taken on educational leadership roles at both the Statistical Society of Canada and the international statistical literacy project.

Jamie Kellar
Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream
Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy 

Professor Jamie Kellar received both her BScPhm and PharmD degrees from the University of Toronto. She joined the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy in 2011 as a Clinician Educator and then in 2015 moved into a full time Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream position. Professor Kellar’s practice area is in the field of mental health and addictions, and she has brought her clinical passion to the classroom. Professor Kellar is known for enthusiasm for the content she teachers and frequently uses innovative teaching approaches, such as using the “patient voice” to bring the lived experience of mental illness to the learning environment. She is also committed to reducing stigma and hosts events such as mental health movie nights for students, faculty, and staff throughout the year. Professor Kellar has a strong interest in education scholarship and leadership, as evidenced by her current role as Acting Director of the Doctor of Pharmacy Program and her pursuit of a PhD in Health Professions Education at Maastricht University, Netherlands.

David Liu
Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream
Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Arts & Science

Professor David Liu has taught at the University of Toronto since 2013, and was appointed to his current position at the Department of Computer Science in the Faculty of Arts & Science in 2015. His subject expertise and passion for innovative teaching methods has led to the design and implementation of significant curricular and pedagogical developments in the seven courses he has taught in computer science. The committee was particularly impressed by Professor Liu’s ongoing contributions to the development of various pedagogical software tools used to support the learning of thousands of computer science students each year. This software has also given a valuable experiential learning opportunity to over seventy undergraduates, who have developed the software through summer internships, senior capstone courses, work-study positions, and the Research Opportunity Program. Despite his junior status, Professor Liu has taken an active leadership role in the Computer Science undergraduate program, and is actively engaged in current efforts to broaden and innovate computer science education across the University.

University of Toronto Teaching Fellowship

The Teaching Fellowships are designed to develop and cultivate leadership and mentoring skills, and encourage capacity-building to support teaching effectiveness and innovation. Fellows engage in a pedagogical project in an institutional priority area. In addition to funding for teaching release, recipients receive a $2,500 grant or stipend to support their activities during this year.

2018 Recipients

Toula Kourgiantakis, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work
Kathleen Liddle, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Department of Sociology, University of Toronto Scarborough
Sarah Mayes-Tang, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Department of Mathematics, Faculty of Arts & Science

Toula Kourgiantakis
Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream
Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work

Professor Kourgiantakis is an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream and Coordinator of the Simulation Program at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. Her research interests include social work education and use of simulation in social work teaching and assessment. Her research also focuses on family involvement in addictions and mental health. As Simulation Coordinator, Professor Kourgiantakis has been working with colleagues and field instructors to integrate simulation in the classroom and the field. In 2015, Professor Kourgiantakis launched an innovative educational enhancement known as Practice Fridays. This voluntary simulation-based learning activity develops competence in interviewing and conducting assessments among MSW students and involves the collaboration of field instructors. Professor Kourgiantakis is a Registered Couple and Family Therapist and a Clinical Fellow of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. She is President of the Ontario Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (OAMFT) and a Council member for the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers.

Professor Kourgiantakis’s Fellowship will focus on the redesign of a required second year course in the Master of Social Work program for students specializing in the field of mental health. The redesign will result in the development and implementation of two simulation-based learning activities, whereby students will learn to conduct a comprehensive mental health assessment with a standardized client (including assessment of suicide risk and substance use). While field education is a signature pedagogy of social work education, there are a number of challenges to providing quality field-education experiences, and simulation-based learning activities present an innovative approach to teaching and assessment of educational outcomes in the discipline that addresses these challenges. Working from a competency-based framework and identifying broad competences or outcomes for the course and specific competencies for the simulated learning activities, students will benefit from more instruction on social work practice in the classroom and will receive more focused feedback on their practice through direct observation.

Kathleen Liddle
Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream
Department of Sociology, University of Toronto Scarborough

Professor Kathy Liddle is a sociologist whose research interests lie at the intersections of culture, organizations, gender, and sexuality. In addition to teaching introductory sociology, she has developed and taught courses on culture, media, qualitative methods, and sociology of books. She has particular interest in creating community within classrooms, increasing student engagement in large enrolment courses, and addressing the particular needs of first-generation university students. Professor Liddle received a Ph.D. in Sociology with a certificate in Women’s Studies from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, an M.A. in Sociology from Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, and a B.A. in Clarinet Performance from Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio.

Professor Liddle’s Fellowship will continue an existing multi-year renewal project of the Introduction to Sociology course in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto Scarborough. This is a 500-student gateway course for the discipline, often providing students with their first exposure to thinking about the social world systematically. Prior to the renewal project, the course had been taught for many years in a traditional lecture format with multiple-choice examinations. Based on consultations with department members and undergraduate students, the renewed course will involve more opportunities for developing writing skills; more frequent and varied types of assessments; expanding coverage of contemporary theories to include anti-racist, post-colonial, and queer theories; addressing gaps in core academic skills, such as basic library research, academic integrity, knowledge of campus resources, and study skills; creating more connections to ‘real world’ scenarios; and, combating the feelings of anonymity and isolation that students feel in a 500-person course.

Sarah Mayes-Tang
Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream
Department of Mathematics, Faculty of Arts & Science

Professor Mayes-Tang received her undergraduate degree in Mathematics from Queen’s University, and her Master’s and PhD degrees in Pure Mathematics from the University of Michigan. After graduating from Michigan in 2013, Sarah joined the faculty of Quest University Canada. In 2017, Sarah joined the mathematics faculty at the University of Toronto. She currently leads a team of instructors and TAs as coordinator for the University’s largest mathematics course. Sarah’s recent scholarly projects focused on innovative assessment techniques to both evaluate and improve conceptual learning. Her current projects include documenting the experiences of women teachers and students in math classrooms, developing programs to support TAs, and helping students to develop positive attitudes towards mathematics.

Professor Mayes-Tang’s Fellowship will focus on the renewal and redesign of the Math 135/136 Calculus sequence. These courses form the main single-variable calculus sequence for Faculty of Arts & Science students majoring in science, and enrol approximately 2400-2700 (primarily first-year) students per year. The purpose of this project is to modernize the curriculum around the following five dimensions: integrating technology and multiple representations of functions; increased focus on conceptual understanding; attention to the needs of the client disciplines; using active learning and interactive engagement methods; and, building sustainable communities of practice in the instructional team.

Please visit the Office of the Vice-President & Provost’s website for more information on the Early Career Teaching Award and the Teaching Fellowship.